Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ugh, The Flu!

See the photo above? In case the title of this post didn't tip you off, the Flu has made a very unwelcome visit to our home this week. Ugh. I guess it was too good to be true. We made it through  the majority of winter pretty healthy, but the last part of the weekend found my husband, and youngest daughter knocked on their behinds. Fever, stuffy noses, cough, body aches, they have 'em. So, there have been lots of fluids, chicken soup, hot tea, garlic, vitamin c, and so on.  On the one hand, it's been a long week, but on the other hand, it's also been an exhausting blur.  I'm praying that not only will we turn a corner quickly, but that my oldest daughter and I do not get this ick.
I hope that you all are healthy this week. C'mon, spring!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NatureGlo's eScience - MathArt Online - A Review

Hey there homeschool friends, it's almost Spring, and as the school year begins to wrap up, I have a review from NatureGlo's eScience to share with you, more specifically,  the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle . For the purpose of this post, our family focused on one of the 4 possible options, Math Connections with the Real World.

Math. There's just something about that subject. Either you excel in it, and maybe even love it, or you struggle through, and detest it. No doubt, there are a few of you that fall somewhere in between that spectrum, but most families that I've talked with, feel strongly about math. When this review opportunity surfaced, I was intrigued by the title - Math Connections with the Real World. Like many others, this is the subject that makes our family's heads ache. We've bounced around here and there, searching for that perfect Math fit. Maybe this would be "it". A program that brings math concepts and real life together? Hey, it was worth a shot.

The Philosophy behind NatureGlo's eScience :

Founder and instructor Gloria Brooks, created these classes with the intention of drawing in students who may otherwise be math phobic. How does she do this? By highlighting connections between art, history, science, and nature. She calls this decompartmentalizing math. While we often see it as a one dimensional thing, Brooks is hoping to revolutionize the way students approach math, by teaching beyond  drills and such, and teaching how and why certain aspects work.

About the courses:

These 6 week group of lessons have and are being developed for approximately ages 12 years and older, but even as young as 10 years old if they are ready.  Live classes are a part of the course, but they are recorded, so families can watch them if schedule conflicts arise. There are slideshows, and activities in pdf . The courses may be used in a variety of ways with your students. You might use it as a refreshing unit study to break up the monotony of your regular curriculum. Or use it as an elective. There are also various projects to work on after a lesson. You can choose a big or small one, depending on interest.

Now for a little closer look at Math Connections with the Real World. This 6 week class includes the following lessons:

* Introduction and History of the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Numbers

* The Golden Number and Fibonacci in Art, Architecture, and Nature

* The Fibonacci Numbers in Nature

* The History and the  Golden Ratio of the Great Pyramid

* Phi and Quasicrystals

* The Mathematics of Music

Each lesson is broken down into small sections. As I said above, you can participate in the live class, and have the benefit of interaction with Gloria Brooks, as well as many other homeschool students. Or, you can choose the recorded classes, to fit your schedule. That is what we chose to do. There are introductory videos for each lesson, slideshows, and downloadable pdf's to guide you through (They are colorful and eyecatching, which I like). The end of lessons have quizlets, where you match vocabulary words and definitions. There are little projects throughout the course that may be completed. You have the option of posting your completed project results to the class page to share with Gloria and the other students, but it isn't a recquirement. Here and there, you'll find various extra videos, and information to read about the specific lesson. This is a course (as all that are in the bundle are) where you can adjust your family's pace. As you complete each section, there are boxes to check off to show it as finished. Along the way, your student is awarded digital awards. Upon completion of all 6 weeks, there is a downloadable certificate of completion to print and personalize for your records.

                                                  A few pics of the slideshows/videos:

Template for making a Quasicrystal

The completed crystal

What we liked:

I really like Gloria Brooks' manner. She comes across as down to earth and approachable. If a blip happens in one of her slideshows, she handles it easily and moves on. She listens to the students in the live class, and asks for their feedback. I also appreciate the philosophy of the course as a whole. I feel like it makes math more relatable to connect its concepts to pretty much every other subject. Seeing math in nature, music, art, science, and more kind of eliminates the fear that so many have of it. It's fascinating really. Revealing patterns in nature and music specifically were interesting to us.

What we struggled with:

I'm bummed, because parts of the course had us struggling to understand some of the material. I think it's because we simply don't have very mathematical ways of thinking. It could be that my 12 and 13 year old haven't mastered some of the concepts needed to fully appreciate the material. I would like to have had some of the basics of the lessons expanded on, for example, maybe explaining what Fibonacci numbers are, and more of an introduction of them and what they are,  than what was offered. It felt like we jumped past that a bit even from the first lesson. Some of the equations in subsequent lessons had us feeling lost, because we didn't completely understand where they came from.

Having said that, I can think of several families who would love this program. It would be a great fit for math loving families that appreciate  hands on, think outside of the box, unit study focused material. I will suggest this program to them. Are you considering a new math curriculum? Why don't you drop by NatureGlo's eScience site, and check out the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle ?

Read more Crew reviews by clicking the image below:

MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}

Sunday, March 11, 2018

DIY Catch All Bags

Okay, I have a new favorite craft, and it's great for a variety of ages, whether it's your tween daughter, or your adult girlfriends. Now, this is not my original idea. I saw one that an acquaintance had made, and it was so cute, that I had to give it a go. Have you seen the rows of bright, whimsical duct tape that's hanging out in the craft aisles these days? Forget the plain old industrial silvery gray stuff that's found in the home improvement section, because duct tape just got fun! All you need for this simple project is duct tape, in any cute variety you like, ziplock bags - I used the sandwich sized ones- , and scissors.

The process is so easy. Starting at the opening of the ziplock bag, begin wrapping the tape in vertical strips around it. Keep going until the entire bag is covered.

Once covered, wrap a length across the bag horizontally to help seal the ends of the tape, but obviously, don't tape the bag shut, or you can't use it, lol.

Trim up any uneven edges that hang over the opening of the bag. You're done! And they're so cute! And really strong! Use these for virtually anything. Pens, pencils, snacks, craft pieces, whatever you like. You can use a hole punch on it if you want to use it in a binder. This would be great for an after school project, Sunday School project, or any day. My daughters are loving these. Cheap, easy, and whimsical. Give them a try 😃

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Star - on DVD - Buy it now!


Hey, did you have a chance to see The Star this pas t holiday season? Even if your answer is no, that's alright, because it's now out on DVD , Blu ray, and in Digital! Watch this sweet movie about a group of animals  (voiced by some familiar faces), who find their way into the most important story of the world! Read the press release:

From the studio that brought you
MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN & CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS comes the timeless tale about faith, friendship, and the importance of believing in yourself. 
AFFIRM Films and Sony Pictures Animation’s THE STAR arrives for the first time on Digital on February 6 and on Blu-ray + DVD + Digital February 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The heartwarming animated comedy follows a small but brave donkey named Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun, “The Walking Dead”), who yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth (voiced by Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”), a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Friends From College), a dove with lofty aspirations, along with three wisecracking camels voiced by
Tracy Morgan (“30 Rock”), Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Bo and his new friends follow the star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told.

Rounding out the all-star voice cast including Gina Rodriguez (“Jane The Virgin”) as Mary, Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) as Joseph, Grammy® Award-Winner Kelly Clarkson as Leah the horse, Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) as Zach the goat, Ving Rhames  (Mission Impossible) as Thaddeus the dog, Gabriel Iglesias (Coco, Ferdinand) as Rufus the dog, Patricia Heaton
(“The Middle”) as Edith the cow, Emmy® and Tony® Award-Winner Kristin Chenoweth as Abby the mouse, and Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) as King Herod.

THE STAR is filled with more than an hour of engaging bonus materials including the “Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends,” a dance along to “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World, plus a collection of fun lyric videos that will have you singing along to the inspiring music from
THE STAR.  Families can enjoy crafting and baking with “how-to” videos “Star Mason Jar Votives” and “Sweet and Sparkly Stars,” and they also can go behind-the-scenes to explore the amazing talent who bring these characters to life.  In “Faith All Year Round,”
renowned pastor and motivational speaker, DeVon Franklin delivers a fun and engaging children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and keeping the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day.

THE STAR is directed by Academy Award® nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart, screenplay by Carlos Kotkin, and story by Simon Moore and Carlos Kotkin. The film is executive produced by DeVon Franklin, Brian Henson and Lisa Henson, and produced by Jennifer Magee-Cook. The Star is presented by AFFIRM films and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Walden Media, Franklin Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company. The uplifting theme song, “The Star” by Mariah Carey and veteran songwriter Marc Shaiman was also nominated for a 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. “The Star” song is now available on The Star: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which assembles new music from a bevy of powerhouse superstars.
Bonus Materials Include: 

· Star-aoke: Sing-Along with Bo & Friends: In this all new song, sing along with your favorite characters including Bo, Dave, Ruth and the unforgettable camels
· "Life Is Good" Dance-Along: Shake your tail feathers and move your hooves in this fun dance along
· Lyric Sing-Along Videos: Enjoy the eclectic and inspiring music of THE STAR with these colorful lyric videos that allow you to sing along with your favorite recording artists
o “The Star” by Mariah Carey
o “Can You See” by Fifth Harmony
o “Children Go Where I Send You” by Kelsea Ballerini
o “We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin
o “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World
· Sweet and Sparkly Stars: Create star-themed cookies to be enjoyed year round
· Star Mason Jar Votives: Let the light of THE STAR shine with this simple yet stunning craft
· Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin: A children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and how to keep the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day
· An All-Star Cast: Meet the stars of the film and explore the exciting voice cast who bring these amazing characters to life

THE STAR has a run time of approximately 86 minutes and is rated PG: for some thematic elements

Now please do not miss this cool opportunity to take advantage of this bonus feature - Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin. It looks like a great way for your children to talk about the message of the film, and impress it upon them.

Buy The Star  here!

Disclaimer: I received either a free DVD or CD from Flyby promotions in exchange for sharing this promotional post, with no additional compensation.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

CursiveLogic - A Review

All right everyone, quickly grab a sharpened pencil and your favorite markers or crayons, because today, we're reviewing the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack  and The Art of Cursive , brought to us by CursiveLogic .
Rumor has it that many schools have given up the teaching of penmanship and handwriting, touting it as old fashioned, and unnecessary. Computer skills and keyboarding have taken over. And while I understand the need to make sure that our kids can navigate modern technology, there is great value in teaching them cursive writing, for many reasons. It not only hones those fine motor skills, it's also important for brain development, language skills, critical thinking. Taking it to a more personal level, a person's handwriting style is so unique. Do you remember receiving a card in the mail from your grandmother, aunt, or other close friend or relative? Wasn't there something comforting about seeing that familiar script? The special way in which they looped an '"L", or an "O"? I get tears in my eyes when I come across notes from loved ones that are no longer here, and yet here I have a precious memory written with their own hand. Yes, it's a big deal!  As our family began our homeschooling journey over a decade ago, it was a given that handwriting would be a natural part of the curriculum. So let's begin!

I remember sitting in my second grade classroom, looking up at the long strip of store bought, handwriting examples that bordered the upper walls above the chalkboard. We were learning the art of cursive, and it felt so important. We worked on a letter at a time, carefully looping and tracing.
 CursiveLogic is bringing the art of handwriting into the modern age. Rather than introducing it as I learned, one letter at a time, blocks of similar letters are practiced together. The alphabet is grouped in to 4 blocks of letters. Each block is assigned a different color, a different attribute common to that specific block, and then a "catch phrase" as they call it, to say out loud as they first trace, and then eventually write themselves. This multisensory approach engages in a way that increases the time it takes to learn. Also, for the younger ages, it's fun!

We began this program with a webinar. The video demonstrated the proper techniques in student positioning, posture, and writing tools - which types of pens and pencils to use, and why. All of the techniques are presented. I found it all very helpful. All of that information is also included in the student workbook, so there was no need to fear that I would forget anything.

The student workbook is designed in a way that I think is excellent for kids. It is a spiral bound book, with the spiral at the top, so there is never a time when little wrists have to rest on a bumpy surface, which might throw off proper positioning. The other benefit is not having to deal with the crease of a book from a typical workbook. It stays flat!
This handwriting program has done all the work for you. Lessons are easily laid out for each day, so students work at their own pace. Each block of letters starts out with the introduction to the characteristics of that set, practicing the catch phrase, and then connecting the letters. In the first week of this program, your child will be handwriting small words. It really is amazing. When you come to the end of the workbook, guess what? It flips over, and you begin work on the other side, working on the capital letters, and reviewing previous work.
It's been my 12 year old who has been using this book, which may sound surprising, because, hey, isn't it about 2nd grade that we teach cursive? Why use this with an older student? Well, because it's great practice! Handwriting can sometimes use a refresher, or simply improvement. Being older, she was able to work through the book at a faster pace. She happens to already have very nice penmanship, but she told me that she has enjoyed this because it's been therapeutic and relaxing for her.

Orange Oval letters

Working on the second half of the workbook

Now I have one more resource to share with you from CursiveLogic . They also provided us with a lovely coloring book that incorporates all of the techniques learned in the workbook. It does offer the tips from the original program, but is not a curriculum itself. Adults can benefit from the basic reminders and practice though. Whether this is used by an adult or a  child, it's a great way to keep up with your handwriting, and relax at the same time. But what's so special about a coloring book?, you might ask. There is no shortage of adult coloring books. True, but the cool and creative feature of The Art of Cursive is that the illustrations to be colored are the loops and letters learned in the first workbook. ( A little alliteration for your reading pleasure) There are longer quotes to practice writing, and lovely, swirly pictures to color. My daughter spent many afternoons with her colored pencils and this book. I'm a little jealous actually, and I think I'll be getting a book for myself 😏

My girl's favorite coloring page

My daughter colored this, but this is my favorite quote in the coloring book

My daughter and I have enjoyed this program, and I recommend it to those just beginning the handwriting journey, or to anyone simply desiring a  refresher course. The coloring book could be a sweet little gift for various occasions as well.

And now, a special treat for you. CursiveLogic is offering a 20% discount on the Quick-Start Pack which includes the webinar and workbook. Click the image below, and use the code CREW2018
This offer is good until the end of March 2018.

Cursive Logic New Edition March 2018 Discount

You can't beat this offer, so head over to the website now! Have a great day, and happy handwriting!

                      Read other Homeschool Crew reviews by clicking the image below.

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Pencil Grip, Inc. - Magic Stix Washable Markers - A Review

Hey friends, who's ready for some arts and crafts? You, yes you there, I see you, super! Pull up a chair, and allow me to share our review of Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc.
We were given a set these bright, bold  markers to use this month, and we have colored up a storm!

I'm not sure that I would call myself a marker aficionado, but I am picky about which coloring implements I purchase. I don't care for the brands that dry out quickly, and I like a pretty selection of colors. These Magic Stix Markers quickly cleared the first hurdle, with the 24 set containing a variety of bright colors. I also noticed the confident declaration on the case, which states - "Won't dry out for  7 Days with the cap off. Guaranteed!" Guaranteed? Well okay then, challenge accepted. I decided to make that our first project. I grabbed a cute piece of scrapbook paper, and got started. It's been fun to check in with the uncapped marker and be amazed at the continuous steadfastness of color. The only problem I have now is that I'm not sure where the cap to the uncapped marker is, but since the color is as good as ever, I suppose that I have some time to find it, ha.  Oh well, anyway, check out our results:

The colors actually look brighter as the days go on.

These are very nice markers to work with. They produce a smooth flow of color, and can make thick or thin lines. We've used these on several different types of surfaces, including drawing paper, cardstock, flat canvas, and stretched canvas. The colors stay vibrant on each one. I would only mention that while they are advertised as washable, they do stain hands, and require several thorough hand washings to completely remove the color. So, I would caution you to have something under any paper that you are coloring that might be on the thinner side, to prevent it from bleeding through. It hasn't been an issue for us, but my girls are older, and I don't have the worry that they will take their art to the walls, lol. Here is a sampling of our drawings and doodles:

This would be my 13 year old's tribute to her favorite band- Twenty One Pilots.

A name doodle.

A page from a Hygge (pronounced Hoo gah) coloring book.

A good start to a kind of abstract-y coloring page. I actually like the contrast of the bright colors against the black and white.

A Family Portrait.

Thoughts from my 12 year old artist:

"I'm impressed with these markers. I've been doodling with the uncapped marker during the dry out challenge, and the color is still completely perfect. The color is still bright and clear, not fuzzy. My lines still come out as clear as the capped markers. I love the size and diameter of them. They are easy to hold comfortably. The thickness of the marker tip is perfect. It isn't too thick or thin.  I love the big assortment of colors- there are a few different shades of blues, greens, yellows... and the case that they come in is just, well, fun!" 

Thoughts from my 13 year old somewhat reluctant artist:

"I like the way these markers write. the lines are smooth , and the thickness of the marker is perfect. The fact that you can leave the cap off is awesome. These work better than some other kinds that  we've used. The colors are really bright."

As I wrap up this review, our family gives the Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  two thumbs up. These will be finding their way into many gifts for friends and family in the coming months.  I'm confident that our own shelves will be stocked with these markers for a long time as well. Get a set for yourselves, and see what you can create. Until later,


Social Media Links:

                              Read reviews from other Homeschool Review Crew members:

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Welcome, March!

Oh, we made it! We made it to the month of March! That is typically my target date that signifies the soon arrival of Spring. And happily, the weather today was gloriously Spring-like. It's the time of year where I find myself drawn to the rows of seeds, flowerpots, and freshly cut daffodils! I start planting a few things indoors, and watch for the first Robins
to visit our yard. Today I took a few photos of some of the flowers I've begun gathering. Here they are!

Daffodils, my favorite!

The seedlings that will soon bloom into lovely forget-me-nots

Honestly, no idea what these are

Right now, all you see is dirt. But soon, hopefully, little daisies will sprout!

Our pretty parakeets. No, they're not flowers, but they're birds, and birds signify Spring, right?